$35 million to be invested to help those in finance sector develop new green skills: MAS

SINGAPORE – As Singapore looks to become a green finance hub, the Government is pumping in about $35 million to help those in the financial services sector pick up new skills to help them better serve the sustainable financing demands in the region.

More than 50,000 people in jobs from sales to risk compliance and legal, and product development, will have new sustainable finance-related job tasks added to their critical work functions, from a “moderate to high degree”, according to a study commissioned by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF).

This comes as the sustainable finance market in Asean is expected to amount to $4 to $5 trillion in the next decade, with financial institutions playing a key role in helping to catalyse the transformation needed.

The largest demand drivers behind the region’s sustainable financing needs are the energy and construction and real estate sectors, such as deploying renewable energy, electricity distribution, and the greening of commercial buildings.

Speaking at the launch of the Sustainable Finance Jobs Transformation Map at the Ecosperity conference on April 17, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan, said: “If Singapore is to be Asia’s leading sustainable finance hub, we must equip our workforce to be ahead of complex and fast-evolving sustainable finance related issues and opportunities.”

Therefore, Singapore’s financial services sector workforce should aim to acquire new skills within the next three years to seize these available opportunities, said MAS, IBF and Workforce Singapore on April 17.  

Mr Tan noted that more than 25 financial institutions in Singapore are already planning to do so for their staff.

According to the Jobs Transformation Map report by KPMG Singapore, some 20 unique job roles, particularly those doing sales and relationship management-related roles, have been identified as high-priority roles for upskilling.

For instance, a relationship manager in corporate banking, will have to know the decarbonisation pathways for certain sectors, and how sustainable finance instruments like green bonds work, to be able to explain these to his client. 

The report also anticipates that about 4,000 to 5,000 new sustainable finance-related jobs will be required over the next decade, ranging from sustainability risk to sustainable strategy. 

This comes as financial institutions are increasingly prioritising sustainability as a core business strategy for their organisations.

“Specialised and deep sustainable finance skill sets will be required to perform these job roles,” the report added.  

To help develop these sustainability finance specialists over the next three years, MAS said it has set aside $35 million in the Financial Sector Development Fund to support professionals in acquiring these new skills. 

Among the top technical skills required for sustainable finance include climate change management – where one is able to ensure that climate risks are integrated into a firm’s wider risk management strategy, and identify opportunities to develop products that support climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

One must also be able to effectively and accurately measure sustainability outcomes from investments and financial products. 

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